20 of the Best Skating Programs from the Fall of 2016

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7. Satoko Miyahara (JPN): Long Program

At her first Grand Prix event in Canada, Satoko Miyahara described her free program as being about being a strong woman. She chose the one both of the hour and from the ages: Leia Organa of Star Wars. Although geeky programs do happen in figure skating, especially in recent years(Miyahara’s is hardly the only one this season!), it’s not easy to get the judges to take them seriously. But while Miyahara connected herself to Leia by using her iconic theme music, she and choreographer Tom Dickson mostly surrounded it with music from Gustav Holst’s Planets.

The program uses that music to tell Leia’s story, with all the beauty, grandeur, strength, war, and tragedy of her life. Music and story converge as if they were meant for each other. Miyahara can show her bold side, without losing the delicacy that is the best part of her skating. Although it stands alone as its own piece, even if you don’t know Star Wars. She has a remarkable short program too, but this is the program people have been talking about, the one delighting geeks especially, but enjoyed by everyone.

After the passing of Carrie Fisher yesterday, this program will no doubt carry further emotional weight at the Four Continents and World Championships, the last two competitions Miyahara is scheduled for.